Indian Wells: Nadal, Djokovic advance to third round
Indian Wells (California), March 16 (DPA) Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, winners of the past two editions of the Indian Wells Masters, both advanced to the third round in commanding style.
Top seed Nadal, the 2007 champion, crushed German Michael Berrer 6-2, 6-1 Sunday while defending champion Djokovic easily dismissed Marcel Vassallo Arguello of Argentina 7-5, 6-4.
'I played a nice match today,' said Nadal, who led Spain in the Davis Cup a week ago. 'For me, it was perfect. I played a very comfortable match. I had the break in the first game in both sets, so that's really important.'
Djokovic, seeded third, continued to rebuild his confidence. 'This year hasn't started maybe the way I thought I would, but now I've raised my confidence to a higher level,' said the 2008 Australian Open champion, who won his first title of this season a fortnight ago in Dubai.
'Winning there meant a lot for my confidence level and for my game overall,' he said.
Djokovic broke three times in his win over Arguello in one and three-quarters hour, saving both of the break points he faced.
'Winning this first match, it's never easy,' said the Serb, who beat Mardy Fish for the 2008 title. 'I played against a solid opponent. He made me work from the baseline, but I played as much as I needed to, and I'm happy to get through.'
Fish was not so lucky, hooked by up-and-coming Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1), the number 48 who lost to the American in the Delray semi-finals late last month.
'The kid's good,' lamented Fish. 'It was a terrible draw for me. I played extremely well last week in the semis against him.
'I won 10 of the last 12 games against him there, but he certainly played a lot better. He served a ton better today and didn't give me very many break points.'
Argentine sixth seed Juan Del Potro opened with a victory over American Ryan Sweeting 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-1 while towering John Isner provided some home relief with his upset of French ninth seed Gael Monfils 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4.
On the women's side, top seed Dinara Safina turned in an average performance to make it past China'a Peng Shuai 7-5, 6-4.
'It was very far from my best, you know, but I'm still happy that I won the match in two sets,' the Australian Open finalist said. 'It just gives you confidence that even if you're not playing your best, you still win the matches.'
Fellow Russian and fourth seed Vera Zvonareva advanced over Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-1, while Danish ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki stopped fellow north European Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
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